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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MODL2230 Questioning Genre in World Cinemas

20 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Mani King Sharpe

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module explores what we understand by the term genre in film. Genre films have comprised the bulk of cinematic practice throughout film history and, with their popularity showing no sign of abating, they continue to dominate commercial venues the world over.- But how can we evaluate this pervasively present phenomenon? Is there one 'definition' of genre?- What are the core elements, conventions and iconography of genre films?- Furthermore, the study of genre has traditionally been located around Hollywood - overwhelmingly a cinema of genres - but how have other World Cinemas generated their own patterns of genre success?The module begins with Film Noir and considers how other World Cinemas have engaged with this ostensibly American 'genre' before moving on to other case studies (which may include melodrama, action, and horror, amongst others). The module also considers the tensions between genre and notions of authorship.


The aim of this module is to:

- offer a polycentric approach to the study of film genre, rather than the traditional approach which favours Hollywood;

- teach students to question linear understandings of the term 'genre' as a largely Western phenomenon;

- to introduce students to a range of genres from different national/world cinemas

- explore tensions between genre filmmaking andnotions of authorship in World Cinemas.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- identify, categorise and evaluate genre films;

- critically analyse different genres;

- understand hybridity across national film boundaries;

- negotiate tensions between genre and authorship.

Skills outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- categorise, theorise and evaluate the basic aspects of film genre;

- conduct detailed analysis of individual films;

- demonstrate a greater understanding of genre in the context of World Cinemas;

- recognise genre-specific cinematic techniques, and draw consequences of their use.


The module starts with an overview of the concepts and approaches that are associated with the term genre, which is inextricably linked to Hollywood. After establishing what is traditionally understood by film genre we expose the problems of definition through a case study of the quintessential 'contested' genre: Film Noir.

We then move on to a series of genre case studies, asking how can we categorise and evaluate genres, and whether or not these categories and evaluations change when genre films arise from a particular (trans)national context. The module places emphasis on case studies that probelmatise commonly held assumptions about the distinction between genre film and 'auteur' cinema.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Film Screenings102.0020.00
Private study hours160.00
Total Contact hours40.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Additional film viewing: 10 x 2 hours = 20 hours
- Preparation per seminar: 10 x 5 hours = 50 hours
- Literature Review preparation: 30 hours
- Essay preparation: 50 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored on a regular basis via classroom participation, monitored group discussion and prepared presentations (formative).

Students will receive additional feedback and support when planning their assessments. The feedback from the literature review and from the presentations will also be formulated to assist with writing the essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words60.00
Literature Review2000 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 16:23:57


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